Cocktails & Spirits

Discover More Than 100 Spirits at Craft: Spirits 'n Cocktails Festival

Now in its ninth year, the Craft Spirits 'N Cocktails vibe is always festive.
Now in its ninth year, the Craft Spirits 'N Cocktails vibe is always festive. Photo courtesy of Craft: Spirits 'n Cocktails
Once again, it’s time for a nice sip of everything buzzworthy happening in the spirits realm.

Craft: Spirits ‘n Cocktails, billed as the largest exhibition of spirits and cocktails in Miami, is back for a ninth year. The cocktail-centric, multifaceted tasting experience featuring more than 100 brands takes place on Friday, October 7 at the Cruz Building in Coconut Grove.

By all indications, 2022 is the year of one particular ingredient which, among a wide variety of new and reimagined booze, will be on full display at the expo.

“Right now, we are living through the boom of agave spirits,” says Frank Moreno, founder of the event. “We’re definitely seeing a lot more agave brands, whether they come in the form of tequila or mezcal. We’re also seeing unique liquors from all over the world, whether it’s a rosé gin from South Africa or a cristalino or barrel-aged mezcal. There are a number of things everyone should be excited to taste.”

Once known as “Craft Spirits Fest,” the event’s first iteration happened in 2013. Had COVID not reared its ugly head and forced a 2020 cancellation, this would have been the event’s tenth anniversary. As it has grown, the expo has kept an intimate vibe, capping attendance at 500.

“If you miss out, you miss out,” says Moreno. “We’ve always wanted the experience to be a great one and at that number, we’re perfect. We’ve never had an interest in packing the house beyond what is comfortable.”
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Among more than 100 spirits, Brugal rum will make an appearance at this year's fest.
Photo courtesy of Craft: Spirits 'n Cocktails
Spirits are the main attraction, but happy imbibers will also find hors d’oeuvres, live jazz music, and the undeniable kitschiness of the Cruz Building space, complete with three levels of New Orleans-esque flair, two 40-foot sculpted bars, and a 20-foot mezzanine bar.

Brands like 6 O’Clock gin, 400 Conejos mezcal, Brugal rum, Mitcher’s whiskey, Una vodka and Woodford Reserve bourbon will be scattered throughout the space offering straight-up and infused cocktail concoctions.

According to Moreno, the vibe “puts you in the mood to discover the things you haven’t discovered just yet.” And, as for the method he recommends for strategically navigating this utopia of booze?

“I would start on the third floor. I’m a total contrarian of sociology,” he says with a laugh. “It’s a little quieter up there and you can work your way down. And remember, you don’t have to drink everything that gets handed to you or drink it right away. Stop, let someone educate you about what you’re drinking, and really take it in.”

Craft: Spirits ‘n Cocktails. 7:30 p.m. Friday, October 7, at the Cruz Building, 3157 Commodore Plz., Coconut Grove; craftspiritsfest.com. Tickets cost $65 to $100 via eventbrite.com.
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Jesse Scott is a Fort Lauderdale-based contributor for Miami New Times covering culture, food, travel, and entertainment in South Florida and beyond. His work has appeared in Condé Nast Traveler, Lonely Planet, National Geographic, and his hometown newspaper, the Free Lance-Star, among others.